Coming together in time of tragedy

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


It has been a trying week for the city of Helena, its police department and the family of Sharon Tarwater Whited and Chuck Tarwater.

The city was flipped upside down when Whited and Tarwater were killed in their home on Wednesday, Jan. 19, and it was described perfectly by Helena Police Chief Brad Flynn, who said the tragic moment “riled everybody to their core.”

In one of the safest cities in the state, it was shocking and heartbreaking news.

You could see the pain on Flynn’s face during his first press conference, almost visibly sick, and you immediately felt pain for the family at the inexplicable crime, which left behind a wife with no husband and several kids with no mother or caretaker.

With it, however, has come a community devoted to showing their love for others and several law enforcement agencies working together to help find justice in the case.

Many from Helena and beyond have stepped up to provide funding for family in wake of the tragedy to help with any costs needed and make sure the kids are well taken care of, while law enforcement agencies tracked down the main person of interest in Florida five days after the heartbreaking moment.

The Helena Police Department, Shelby County Major Crimes Task Force and several other agencies, including the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office in Florida who made the arrest, all deserve an immense amount of credit for the way they handled the situation.

Their swift action led to the arrest of John Peyton Scott III on capital murder charges, as they worked tirelessly for five days to track him down for questioning.

From the pain of a few days earlier, Flynn was eating lunch with his wife when he found out, and his heart almost beat out of his chest when he got the phone call.

That moment right there showed how much he and those protecting Helena care.

To see residents going out of the way to share money with the family impacted shows how much they care as a community.

It truly is special, in the darkest of times, to see people rally together to make a difference.

That is the one thing we should take away from this tragedy.

Be more kind. Care more about the people around you and help lift them up every chance you get.